Chicago Trib Religion Blog Thunders From Online Pulpit with Rebuke of Proposed Budget Cuts

April 5th, 2011 2:54 PM

With the looming possibility of a government shutdown and today's Republican 2012 budget proposal, you can expect the media to be hard at work amplifying the complaints of liberal Democrats that conservative-proposed budget cuts are extreme.

Even newspaper sections or online features generally disconnected from politics are picking up on the meme. Take the Chicago Tribune's The Seeker blog, a religion news feature.

The last two blog posts have taken a liberal tack from a religious perspective on the federal budget.

"Faithful, legislators should ask, 'What would Jesus cut?'" Rev. Soong -Chan Rah argued in an April 4 post, echoing the rallying cry of liberal Christian activist Jim Wallis:

A number of faith leaders announced a fast to protest the proposed budget cuts that would negatively impact the poorest and the most vulnerable in our nation. These are certainly questions that people of faith should be asking.


In the Old Testament, prophets held the responsibility of representing God’s truth to the powers that be. The prophets would often ask the difficult questions to call the powerful into account for how they treated the very least of these. In these times, faith leaders should continue to ask the difficult questions. The budget of our nation has the capacity to reflect the morality of our nation.


If you have the chance, follow @jimwallis (one of the faith leaders participating in the fast) and #WWJC (What Would Jesus Cut?) on Twitter. The Twitter feeds raise questions appropriate for discussion in the public arena:

“Do we cut $2.5 bil for low income heating assistance or $2.5 bil in tax breaks for oil companies?”


"Do we cut $747 mil from WIC, a program that feeds about 25% of U.S. children between the ages of 1 and 4?”


“Do we sacrifice the lives of 70,000 children and keep tax breaks for the rich?”


“What would Jesus Cut?”


Asking these kinds of questions is exactly what people of faith should be doing.

In another post the same day, Rev. Martin Marty explored "Why should [the] faithful care about budget cuts?" suggesting the prophet Isaiah would opposed to federal budget cuts for social services:

The ancient prophet said this more elegantly and with an authority that columnists cannot command, but his words should outrank other texts which are cherished by biblical literalists and their secular cousins during legislative and electoral conflicts.

Cheering the efforts of two liberals who are fasting in protest of proposed cuts, Marty cautions:

I hope both fasters savor their post-fasting food but stay on the cause. Those obsessed with budget-cutting will certainly stay on theirs.